Artist
Jorge Satorre
See images of Work

Moral Modern Subject, Decorating the Pit
Installation view.

This exhibition takes as a starting point the history of the site where LABOR is currently located. Satorre traces the purchase of the land in 1946, being part of El Rancho de la Providencia which was originally grounds for mines of tepetate and sand. The first house was designed by the architect Enrique del Moral and completed in 1948 where he lived for thirty years. Almost six decades later it was sold, modified and used as an architectural firm. Later, in 2009, it became a gallery.
The title of the exhibition, “Moral Modern Subject, Decorating the Pit” comes from the Modern Moral Series of William Hogarth, a set of satirical images, based on the London society of the first half of the XVII century. Jorge Satorre establishes a play on words by restating the satire in the space of the gallery and tying it in with elements that compose the exhibition.
The pieces shown at the gallery, are part of a series of works where, in the ambit of the craftsmanship and trades, the worker encounters jarring situations that make him turning his back on the system from which his guild was created.

Moral Modern Subject, Decorating the Pit
Detail.

This exhibition takes as a starting point the history of the site where LABOR is currently located. Satorre traces the purchase of the land in 1946, being part of El Rancho de la Providencia which was originally grounds for mines of tepetate and sand. The first house was designed by the architect Enrique del Moral and completed in 1948 where he lived for thirty years. Almost six decades later it was sold, modified and used as an architectural firm. Later, in 2009, it became a gallery.
The title of the exhibition, “Moral Modern Subject, Decorating the Pit” comes from the Modern Moral Series of William Hogarth, a set of satirical images, based on the London society of the first half of the XVII century. Jorge Satorre establishes a play on words by restating the satire in the space of the gallery and tying it in with elements that compose the exhibition.
The pieces shown at the gallery, are part of a series of works where, in the ambit of the craftsmanship and trades, the worker encounters jarring situations that make him turning his back on the system from which his guild was created.

Moral Modern Subject, Decorating the Pit
Graphite on paper sustained with
pieces of steel
29.7 x 42cm

This exhibition takes as a starting point the history of the site where LABOR is currently located. Satorre traces the purchase of the land in 1946, being part of El Rancho de la Providencia which was originally grounds for mines of tepetate and sand. The first house was designed by the architect Enrique del Moral and completed in 1948 where he lived for thirty years. Almost six decades later it was sold, modified and used as an architectural firm. Later, in 2009, it became a gallery.
The title of the exhibition, “Moral Modern Subject, Decorating the Pit” comes from the Modern Moral Series of William Hogarth, a set of satirical images, based on the London society of the first half of the XVII century. Jorge Satorre establishes a play on words by restating the satire in the space of the gallery and tying it in with elements that compose the exhibition.
The pieces shown at the gallery, are part of a series of works where, in the ambit of the craftsmanship and trades, the worker encounters jarring situations that make him turning his back on the system from which his guild was created.

Wrecking the floor tiles
23 whole and 15 broken fired clay floor tiles
280 x 240 cm
(37.5 x 37.5 x 1.5 cm each)
2016

In a hidden area of the Collserola Park in Barcelona, where groups of wild boars tend to wallow in during the night, I installed a fresh clay floor of approximately 17 m2. On the second night, a couple of boars walked on it and, the next morning, when I discovered their footprints, I took a hunting dog to try and follow the route of the boars, also leaving its footprints.

I wanted to recreate the hypothetical state of deception of an artisan who discovered that the clay tiles he just made have been ruined in the drying process by the footprints of an animal, which in Mexico is quite common still. I think it is in these moments, when artisans recognize a mistake or an accident, and they realize that they have to discard the outcome of their work, that paradoxically they recognize themselves as individuals and stop paying attention to the system that regulates their trade.

Wrecking the floor tiles
Installation detail.

In a hidden area of the Collserola Park in Barcelona, where groups of wild boars tend to wallow in during the night, I installed a fresh clay floor of approximately 17 m2. On the second night, a couple of boars walked on it and, the next morning, when I discovered their footprints, I took a hunting dog to try and follow the route of the boars, also leaving its footprints.

I wanted to recreate the hypothetical state of deception of an artisan who discovered that the clay tiles he just made have been ruined in the drying process by the footprints of an animal, which in Mexico is quite common still. I think it is in these moments, when artisans recognize a mistake or an accident, and they realize that they have to discard the outcome of their work, that paradoxically they recognize themselves as individuals and stop paying attention to the system that regulates their trade.

Hooves of steel

Formal Encounter in the Garden
Installation view.

This work lived temporarily in the house of architect Luis Barragán in Mexico City in the framework of the exhibition “Barragán Fetichista” that, broadly speaking, dealt with the role of objects in the work of the architect.

One of my premises was to pay attention to areas that had a peripheral or secondary value in the house, trying to avoid referring directly to Barragán and his architecture. That is how I ended up in the section of multifaceted cartoonist Miguel Covarrubias’s archive that is housed there. It was donated to Luis Barragán by Rosa Rolando, Covarrubias’ partner for many years (most of the archive can be found in the Universidad de las Américas in Puebla and another considerable portion belongs to Adriana Williams).

Taking the subject of the exhibition as a departing point, I selected in a somewhat Morellian way (as in 42 Partial Portraits and The Blacks), a chapter in Covarrubias’ archive devoted to sketches of hands and feet. From those images I produced a series of objects in fired-clay that ranged from faithful three-dimensional copies to some that presented functionality gestures such as vases and pots. Once these sketches were exhausted, I also pulled out details of books illustrated by Covarrubias in the house’s library.

The objects were placed in some areas of the house, as well as the yard and garden.

Formal Encounter in the Garden
105 fired clay objects and fragments
different sizes
2016

This work lived temporarily in the house of architect Luis Barragán in Mexico City in the framework of the exhibition “Barragán Fetichista” that, broadly speaking, dealt with the role of objects in the work of the architect.

One of my premises was to pay attention to areas that had a peripheral or secondary value in the house, trying to avoid referring directly to Barragán and his architecture. That is how I ended up in the section of multifaceted cartoonist Miguel Covarrubias’s archive that is housed there. It was donated to Luis Barragán by Rosa Rolando, Covarrubias’ partner for many years (most of the archive can be found in the Universidad de las Américas in Puebla and another considerable portion belongs to Adriana Williams).

Taking the subject of the exhibition as a departing point, I selected in a somewhat Morellian way (as in 42 Partial Portraits and The Blacks), a chapter in Covarrubias’ archive devoted to sketches of hands and feet. From those images I produced a series of objects in fired-clay that ranged from faithful three-dimensional copies to some that presented functionality gestures such as vases and pots. Once these sketches were exhausted, I also pulled out details of books illustrated by Covarrubias in the house’s library.

The objects were placed in some areas of the house, as well as the yard and garden.

Bricks II

Bricks II
Installation detail.

Killing Pots
72 stone pieces of various types
Different sizes.
2013

The notion of circularity applied to historiographical inquiry is a reoccurring reference in my work. We can understand in this concept the necessity of continuous exchange between shifting points of view, analyzing details of isolated or anomalous occurrences in the historical fabric in order to compare them with generalized or hegemonic versions.

Together with curator Catalina Lozano, in early 2012, I began visiting the Community Museum of Xico Valley, in the municipality of Valle de Chalco Solidaridad led by Genaro Amaro Altamirano, co-founder and chronicler of the museum. From its inception in 1996 it has grown to include today more than 5,000 Pre-Hispanic objects donated by local residents who found spontaneously while building their houses or working the land.

The museum does not receive any funding, instead it is maintained through the volunteer work of the local community. The collection is recognized and classified by the INAH (the National Institute of Anthropology and History), but many of the pieces have lost some of their archeological value, as they were not analyzed in their original context. The museum also runs its own parallel classification system that follows specific empirical archeological and historical criteria, which was developed by Don Genaro in the years following his arrival in Valle de Chalco. This classification system often differs from that used by the INAH.

This attitude of opposition to officialdom, in which symbolic and affective value exist together with the scientific aspects, is the place from where Killing Pots emerges.

A selection of 18 pre-Hispanic pieces from the Xico Valley was copied in meticulous detail, using the same type of material. All of these pieces are functional objects that are now being used by their owners, after spontaneously finding them. Each copy was split into two pieces and those were then reproduced again with the particularity that each fragment contains a piece of the others, so that the smaller piece is converted into the larger piece, and the larger piece into the smaller piece.

This sculptural work arises out of the interpretations on the custom of various Mesoamerican cultures, which on occasion would drill a hole in or break domestic utensils before burying them with the dead so as to make an offering in order to consecrate them or, as suggested by Genaro Amaro, so that they would be more resistant to theft. Though these utensils did not have any special material worth, robberies were common, as the offerings normally included functional objects that could be reused in domestic labor.

Killing Pots
Installation detail.

The notion of circularity applied to historiographical inquiry is a reoccurring reference in my work. We can understand in this concept the necessity of continuous exchange between shifting points of view, analyzing details of isolated or anomalous occurrences in the historical fabric in order to compare them with generalized or hegemonic versions.

Together with curator Catalina Lozano, in early 2012, I began visiting the Community Museum of Xico Valley, in the municipality of Valle de Chalco Solidaridad led by Genaro Amaro Altamirano, co-founder and chronicler of the museum. From its inception in 1996 it has grown to include today more than 5,000 Pre-Hispanic objects donated by local residents who found spontaneously while building their houses or working the land.

The museum does not receive any funding, instead it is maintained through the volunteer work of the local community. The collection is recognized and classified by the INAH (the National Institute of Anthropology and History), but many of the pieces have lost some of their archeological value, as they were not analyzed in their original context. The museum also runs its own parallel classification system that follows specific empirical archeological and historical criteria, which was developed by Don Genaro in the years following his arrival in Valle de Chalco. This classification system often differs from that used by the INAH.

This attitude of opposition to officialdom, in which symbolic and affective value exist together with the scientific aspects, is the place from where Killing Pots emerges.

A selection of 18 pre-Hispanic pieces from the Xico Valley was copied in meticulous detail, using the same type of material. All of these pieces are functional objects that are now being used by their owners, after spontaneously finding them. Each copy was split into two pieces and those were then reproduced again with the particularity that each fragment contains a piece of the others, so that the smaller piece is converted into the larger piece, and the larger piece into the smaller piece.

This sculptural work arises out of the interpretations on the custom of various Mesoamerican cultures, which on occasion would drill a hole in or break domestic utensils before burying them with the dead so as to make an offering in order to consecrate them or, as suggested by Genaro Amaro, so that they would be more resistant to theft. Though these utensils did not have any special material worth, robberies were common, as the offerings normally included functional objects that could be reused in domestic labor.

The Pillar
High temperature fired clay,
Pigmented cement and metal structure.
2013

A STONE THAT BECOMES A MENHIR, A MENHIR THAT BECOMES A MENHIR WITH A PAINTED CROSS, A MENHIR WITH A PAINTED CROSS THAT BECOMES A MENHIR WITH A SCULPTED CROSS, A MENHIR WITH A SCULPTED CROSS THAT BECOMES A MENHIR WITH A FIGURE ON TOP, A MENHIR WITH A FIGURE ON TOP THAT BECOMES A PILLAR WITH A VIRGIN ON TOP, A PILLAR WITH A VIRGIN ON TOP THAT BECOMES THE VIRGIN OF THE PILLAR. SEX IN FOUR OR FIVE POSITIONS.-

This work was carried out in Halfhouse, an independent space in Barcelona run by artists Alberto Peral and Sinéad Spelman. I found out that a water diviner, involved in a previous project, had mentioned the possible former existence of a menhir in the house’s garden. I thus established a series of relations between this assumption, the two columns at the entrance of the house and the belief that the Virgin of the Pillar was originated in a menhir that had ended up being a Christian site after long processes of acculturation.

The work involved modeling in clay a replica of the house’s columns and placing it in one of the possible sites where the menhir would have been, just in front of one of the columns.

The Pillar
Airbrush drawing, acrylic on paper.
42 x 59.4 cm
2013

A STONE THAT BECOMES A MENHIR, A MENHIR THAT BECOMES A MENHIR WITH A PAINTED CROSS, A MENHIR WITH A PAINTED CROSS THAT BECOMES A MENHIR WITH A SCULPTED CROSS, A MENHIR WITH A SCULPTED CROSS THAT BECOMES A MENHIR WITH A FIGURE ON TOP, A MENHIR WITH A FIGURE ON TOP THAT BECOMES A PILLAR WITH A VIRGIN ON TOP, A PILLAR WITH A VIRGIN ON TOP THAT BECOMES THE VIRGIN OF THE PILLAR. SEX IN FOUR OR FIVE POSITIONS.-

This work was carried out in Halfhouse, an independent space in Barcelona run by artists Alberto Peral and Sinéad Spelman. I found out that a water diviner, involved in a previous project, had mentioned the possible former existence of a menhir in the house’s garden. I thus established a series of relations between this assumption, the two columns at the entrance of the house and the belief that the Virgin of the Pillar was originated in a menhir that had ended up being a Christian site after long processes of acculturation.

The work involved modeling in clay a replica of the house’s columns and placing it in one of the possible sites where the menhir would have been, just in front of one of the columns.

Inscriptions

The Cheese and the Worms is a historiographic study by the historian Carlo Ginzburg, first published in Italian in 1976. In this book, Ginzburg reconstructs the life of Menocchio, a miller from Friuli who was persecuted during the Inquisition for what his accusers considered his unconventional beliefs.
From evidence found in the Inquisition records, Ginzburg not only reconstructs the life of the miller but also imagines the living conditions of the lower classes during this period. Following the success of The Cheese and the Worms, the once anomalous figure Menocchio gradually became a popular icon. Today, this book is referred to as one of the most important studies of Microhistory.

Los negros I is the first part of a project which oscillates between an hermeneutical investigation, site specific work and experimental editorial illustration that uses Ginzburg’s book as its point of departure. The title of the work, named after the colloquial term in Spanish for a “ghostwriter” makes reference to Satorre's fascination with what is not written explicitly in a book or story and what the reader contributes with every act of reading.

Using drawing as a main tool, the work consists in a collection of meticulous experiments based on his research in the town of Montereale, Valcellina, where Mennochio lived and was questioned for the first time. With the help of local residents, this investigation led him to discover a multitude of small details hidden and dispersed in popular beliefs among the people of Montereale.

Satorre's anthropological perspective pushed him to research the same church for which Menocchio worked as administrator, and where he was first interrogated by a local priest for suspected heresy. The church’s frescoes and surroundings served as primary resources in this long investigative process to try to understand the moral and cultural landscape studied by Ginzburg.

Inscriptions
Detail.

The Cheese and the Worms is a historiographic study by the historian Carlo Ginzburg, first published in Italian in 1976. In this book, Ginzburg reconstructs the life of Menocchio, a miller from Friuli who was persecuted during the Inquisition for what his accusers considered his unconventional beliefs.
From evidence found in the Inquisition records, Ginzburg not only reconstructs the life of the miller but also imagines the living conditions of the lower classes during this period. Following the success of The Cheese and the Worms, the once anomalous figure Menocchio gradually became a popular icon. Today, this book is referred to as one of the most important studies of Microhistory.

Los negros I is the first part of a project which oscillates between an hermeneutical investigation, site specific work and experimental editorial illustration that uses Ginzburg’s book as its point of departure. The title of the work, named after the colloquial term in Spanish for a “ghostwriter” makes reference to Satorre's fascination with what is not written explicitly in a book or story and what the reader contributes with every act of reading.

Using drawing as a main tool, the work consists in a collection of meticulous experiments based on his research in the town of Montereale, Valcellina, where Mennochio lived and was questioned for the first time. With the help of local residents, this investigation led him to discover a multitude of small details hidden and dispersed in popular beliefs among the people of Montereale.

Satorre's anthropological perspective pushed him to research the same church for which Menocchio worked as administrator, and where he was first interrogated by a local priest for suspected heresy. The church’s frescoes and surroundings served as primary resources in this long investigative process to try to understand the moral and cultural landscape studied by Ginzburg.

Los Negros I (Gestures)
Graphite on paper
105 x 140 cm
2011

The Cheese and the Worms is a historiographic study by the historian Carlo Ginzburg, first published in Italian in 1976. In this book, Ginzburg reconstructs the life of Menocchio, a miller from Friuli who was persecuted during the Inquisition for what his accusers considered his unconventional beliefs.
From evidence found in the Inquisition records, Ginzburg not only reconstructs the life of the miller but also imagines the living conditions of the lower classes during this period. Following the success of The Cheese and the Worms, the once anomalous figure Menocchio gradually became a popular icon. Today, this book is referred to as one of the most important studies of Microhistory.

Los negros I is the first part of a project which oscillates between an hermeneutical investigation, site specific work and experimental editorial illustration that uses Ginzburg’s book as its point of departure. The title of the work, named after the colloquial term in Spanish for a “ghostwriter” makes reference to Satorre's fascination with what is not written explicitly in a book or story and what the reader contributes with every act of reading.

Using drawing as a main tool, the work consists in a collection of meticulous experiments based on his research in the town of Montereale, Valcellina, where Mennochio lived and was questioned for the first time. With the help of local residents, this investigation led him to discover a multitude of small details hidden and dispersed in popular beliefs among the people of Montereale.

Satorre's anthropological perspective pushed him to research the same church for which Menocchio worked as administrator, and where he was first interrogated by a local priest for suspected heresy. The church’s frescoes and surroundings served as primary resources in this long investigative process to try to understand the moral and cultural landscape studied by Ginzburg.

Los Negros I (Gestures)
Detail

The Cheese and the Worms is a historiographic study by the historian Carlo Ginzburg, first published in Italian in 1976. In this book, Ginzburg reconstructs the life of Menocchio, a miller from Friuli who was persecuted during the Inquisition for what his accusers considered his unconventional beliefs.
From evidence found in the Inquisition records, Ginzburg not only reconstructs the life of the miller but also imagines the living conditions of the lower classes during this period. Following the success of The Cheese and the Worms, the once anomalous figure Menocchio gradually became a popular icon. Today, this book is referred to as one of the most important studies of Microhistory.

Los negros I is the first part of a project which oscillates between an hermeneutical investigation, site specific work and experimental editorial illustration that uses Ginzburg’s book as its point of departure. The title of the work, named after the colloquial term in Spanish for a “ghostwriter” makes reference to Satorre's fascination with what is not written explicitly in a book or story and what the reader contributes with every act of reading.

Using drawing as a main tool, the work consists in a collection of meticulous experiments based on his research in the town of Montereale, Valcellina, where Mennochio lived and was questioned for the first time. With the help of local residents, this investigation led him to discover a multitude of small details hidden and dispersed in popular beliefs among the people of Montereale.

Satorre's anthropological perspective pushed him to research the same church for which Menocchio worked as administrator, and where he was first interrogated by a local priest for suspected heresy. The church’s frescoes and surroundings served as primary resources in this long investigative process to try to understand the moral and cultural landscape studied by Ginzburg.

La Part Maudite Illustrée
90 paintings (gouasch on wood)
Paintings made by Jorge Aviña
33 offset plates
and wooden box
2009-10

La Part Maudite Illustrée responded to an invitation by Le Grand Café art center in Saint Nazaire, France to propose and develop a work related to the history of the place.

Saint Nazaire is known for its shipyard that, until recently, was the most important in Europe. At the end of Second World War it was bombarded and destroyed to a 90%. In the 1950s, the city was rebuilt almost entirely.

In 1949 George Bataille published his philosophical essay on economic theory The Accursed Share (La Part Maudite). In it, Bataille defended the importance of unproductive expenditure in an economic system, normally associated to processes of production and consumption. The book proposes that every society produces a surplus that should be dilapidated, understanding it as an inherent factor to the evolutionary process. The author analyses several examples such as human sacrifice in the Aztec Empire, the wasteful spending and destruction during wars, ostentation, the potlacht, the condemnation of alms in Calvinism, etc.

I used Bataille’s book to establish a series of connections with the city’s complex history. I then proposed to produce a new illustrated edition of The Accursed Share with images by illustrator Jorge Aviña from details and descriptions of all ships built in the city of which I could find proof of their disappearance. The format of the book as well as the aesthetic choices were inspired by the postcards printed back in the early twentieth century when the construction of a ship was finished and it left the port.

The production of the book was intentionally halted just before going into print, keeping only the offset plates with the layout of the publication. Left as a potential book, preserving the associations I had made, in the case between Bataille, Saint Nazaire and myself, in a personal, unpublished dimension.

La Part Maudite Illustrée
Detail.

La Part Maudite Illustrée responded to an invitation by Le Grand Café art center in Saint Nazaire, France to propose and develop a work related to the history of the place.

Saint Nazaire is known for its shipyard that, until recently, was the most important in Europe. At the end of Second World War it was bombarded and destroyed to a 90%. In the 1950s, the city was rebuilt almost entirely.

In 1949 George Bataille published his philosophical essay on economic theory The Accursed Share (La Part Maudite). In it, Bataille defended the importance of unproductive expenditure in an economic system, normally associated to processes of production and consumption. The book proposes that every society produces a surplus that should be dilapidated, understanding it as an inherent factor to the evolutionary process. The author analyses several examples such as human sacrifice in the Aztec Empire, the wasteful spending and destruction during wars, ostentation, the potlacht, the condemnation of alms in Calvinism, etc.

I used Bataille’s book to establish a series of connections with the city’s complex history. I then proposed to produce a new illustrated edition of The Accursed Share with images by illustrator Jorge Aviña from details and descriptions of all ships built in the city of which I could find proof of their disappearance. The format of the book as well as the aesthetic choices were inspired by the postcards printed back in the early twentieth century when the construction of a ship was finished and it left the port.

The production of the book was intentionally halted just before going into print, keeping only the offset plates with the layout of the publication. Left as a potential book, preserving the associations I had made, in the case between Bataille, Saint Nazaire and myself, in a personal, unpublished dimension.

The Divine Truth (Piaxtla indiciaria)
Graphite on paper
2011

Is a long journey-project presented as a chain of interpretations in the spirit of a hermeneutic laboratory. It is based on the idea of transposing the interpretation of a specific social reality to an extreme level of subjectivization based on the intrusion of different referents from the artist. The veiled drawings included in the exhibition are the link that conclude this process.

The divine truth (evidentiary Piaxtla) was carried out by a group of illustrators gathered by Jorge Aviña. Its purpose was to interpret a text, in fragments, by means of drawings based on Satorre’s oral narration. The process lasted two and a half months.

The text under discussion is a film script entitled El cuarto camino, written by novelist Élmer Mendoza. The absurdist film Two-Lane Blacktop (Monte Hellman, 1971) in combination with a series of drawings and notes made by Satorre were altogether used as a reference to develop the above mentioned film script. The documents on which Mendoza based his film, laying on the table by the veiled drawings, make up for the totality of previous phases. These phases included:

-A month-long stay in the town of Piaxtla, Puebla, which finds itself in danger of disappearing due to the constant emigration of its population to the United States.

-A series of drawings based on the myths and legends told by the people of Piaxtla.

-The participation of the people of Piaxtla in the analysis of the film Two Lane Blacktop (Monte Hellman, 1971).

-A journey by car from Piaxtla to New York establishing a parallel between the car race in the film and the journey of Maurilia Arriaga, the first Piaxteca to emigrate in 1952.

Once the drawings based on the fragments of that potential film written by Mendoza were finished ―and when the resulting images were approved by all― they were darkened almost completely. The focus was the process of interpretation, not its result or the functional/educational value commonly associated with storyboards. Thus, the idea behind the communal work was the mental effort to take up a stance in the collective construction of that not-yet-made film. The resulting “darkened” drawings, considered as a veiled film, ideally work only as a trace or an indication of the long process. This allowed the interpretative chain that gave birth to this work to become infinite as it followed its course through each of the possible readers of

Bio

Mexico City, Mexico, 1979.
Lives and works in Mexico City.

Jorge Satorre’s work has been developed as a series of responses to traces that have been excluded from hegemonic versions of history in various contexts to which the artist relates, thus vindicating apparently non-representative opinions as revealing of a subaltern truth.

Satorre often collaborates with specialists from different fields such as historians, geologists, writers or other artists who contribute to determine the specificity of each project which usually uses drawing as its main medium.

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Exhibitions
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